Jane Austen, Game Theorist
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Jane Austen, Game Theorist
illustration by Sonny Liew

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and first chapter

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Princeton University Press

Michael Chwe

Michael Chwe
Department of Political Science

Bibliography of Jane Austen, Game Theorist
(pdf files of all the papers referenced)
Game theory—the study of how people make choices while interacting with others—is one of the most popular technical approaches in social science today. But as Michael Chwe reveals in Jane Austen, Game Theorist, Jane Austen explored game theory’s core ideas in her six novels roughly two hundred years ago.

Chwe finds that game theory has early and subversive historical roots in Austen’s novels and in “folk game theory” traditions, including African American folktales. He considers how Austen analyzed “cluelessness”—the conspicuous absence of strategic thinking—and how her observations apply to U.S. military blunders in Iraq and Vietnam.

Jane Austen, Game Theorist brings together the study of literature and social science in an original and surprising way.
With a diverse range of literature and folktales, this book illustrates how, fundamentally, we are all strategic thinkers.

“Michael Chwe, a rare breed of political scientist, has raised the game of two disciplines.
Regenia Gagnier, University of Exeter

In Jane Austen, Game Theorist, Michael Chwe brilliantly brings out Austen’s intuitive game-theoretic analysis. This book will transform the way you read literature.”
Avinash Dixit, Princeton University

His book will instruct and delight both literary critics and economists. Combining the humanities and social sciences for mutual illumination, Chwe practices a ‘humanomics’ masterfully.”
Deirdre N. McCloskey, University of Illinois, Chicago

“Game theorists will enjoy this venture into unfamiliar territory, while Jane Austen fans will enjoy being illuminated about their favorite author’s strategic acumenand learn a little game theory besides.”
Thomas C. Schelling, Nobel Laureate in Economics


Janeiac Game

Chelsea Clinton

Huffington Post

Jane Austen, Game Theorist

Recent news

American Journal of Play
Jane Austen, Game Theorist,” by Mary Flanagan, American Journal of Play, Fall 2013

Jane Austen, Game Theorist,” by Alan Sanderson, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, September 2013

Jane Austen, Game Theorist,” by Jonathan Sachs, Times Literary Supplement, August 9, 2013

Keri Russell Stars in Austenland—Plus, a Look at Eight Other Jane Austen–Inspired Hits,” by Evelyn Crowley, Vogue, August 9, 2013

New York
Jane, Plain No More: A Year of Austen Glamour
” and “The Janeiac Game
by Mary Jo Murphy and Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, August 8, 2013

Book Review | Jane Austen, Game Theorist,” by Siddharth Singh, Mint (Delhi), August 8, 2013

Huffington Post
Jane Austen Books: 10 Essential Reads for Janeites,” by Kate Hutchings, Huffington Post Books, August 2, 2013

Jane Austen, Game Theorist,” by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, Freakonomics Radio, July 3, 2013 [audio | transcript]

City A.M.
Pie charts and Prejudice: Jane Austen the economist should grace our banknotes,” by Marc Sidwell, City A.M. (London), June 28, 2013

The Guardian
Jane Austen, Game Theorist by Michael Suk-Young Chwe – review,” by John Mullan, The Guardian, June 12, 2013

KoreAm Journal
Interpreting Jane,” by Chelsea Hawkins, KoreAm Journal, June 2013

Loh Down on Science
From 2-3pm today, author Michael Chwe takes your questions about his new book, Jane Austen, Game Theorist,” The Loh Down on Science, Southern California Public Radio, May 30, 2013

Economics, Game Theory, and Jane Austen,” PBS Newshour, May 16, 2013

The Guardian
New Books Party,” GrrlScientist, The Guardian, May 10, 2013

BBC World Update, Julian Marshall, April 25, 2013 [listen to excerpt; 7 minutes, 38 seconds]

Times of
Jane Austen pioneered ‘game theory’ used by Cold War strategists,” by Rhys Blakely, Times of London, April 24, 2013

La phrase de Michael Chwe,” Libération, April 23, 2013

New York Times
Game Theory: Jane Austen Had it First,” by Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, April 22, 2013